Because it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to consume alcohol in Michigan, the State has enacted a tough Zero Tolerance law for underage drivers who operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Under this law, anyone under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% to .07% can be arrested for an operating while intoxicated (OWI) Zero Tolerance offense. If you or your child is facing a Michigan OWI Zero Tolerance charge, an experienced DUI defense lawyer may be able to obtain an acquittal or get your charges reduced.
While there is no jail time for a first OWI Zero Tolerance offense, an underage defendant could be sentenced to up to 360 hours of community service in addition to a $250 fine. A person charged with a second OWI Zero Tolerance offense within seven years could face up to 93 days in jail, 60 days of community service, and a $500 fine.
Although a first OWI Zero Tolerance offense does not include incarceration, you should still fight this charge. Prior convictions are taken into account when determining the sentence for any future OWI violations. This means that if a driver over 21 charged with OWI had a Zero Tolerance conviction in the past, he or she may be charged with an OWI second offense.
However, the law states that only one Zero Tolerance conviction can be used to enhance the charge, which means that if the driver had two violations in the past, he or she could not be charged with a felony third offense. In other words, one zero tolerance plus two more OWI convictions equals a felony.
If an underage driver has a BAC of .08% or higher, he or she may be charged with a standard OWI. A much more serious offense, the potential penalties for a conviction could include up to 93 days in jail, increased fines, community service, a driver’s license revocation, and mandatory alcohol treatment.
Being convicted of a criminal offense before adulthood can have a lasting effect on a person’s future, which is why having an experienced Michigan OWI defense lawyer on your side is so important. The Barone Defense Firm has successfully handled many Michigan OWI Zero Tolerance cases, and we would like to help you fight yours.